Monthly Archives: January 2013

Roots Growing Deeper

Tea ~ Satin Pear

It’s funny how sometimes God puts certain themes in your life in very obvious ways. Probably because I either didn’t notice or was ignoring it before. Not only is it January, the beginning of 2013, but there have been 3 very blatant things the last couple of weeks reminding me to go back to the beginning, back to my Creator, to be thankful for His creation and creativity that I get to take pleasure in.

1. Every year at Missio Dei, we go back to the beginning and talk about creation, the fall, redemption and restoration. It’s a good reminder of where we came from and where we are going as a body of believers.

2. I’m reading through the Bible in a year for the second time start to finish. This time chronologically. I’m really enjoying reading everything in order and how after Genesis comes Job. Once the foundation of the earth has been laid and we’ve seen some of God’s most faithful servants in Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, to then see Satan begging God to see how faithful they will be once they’ve lost everything – land, livestock, family, health. Even Job’s own wife basically told him to “curse God and die.” It’s so encouraging to read a story about a man as steadfast as Job who praised God and thanked Him when he had plenty and had nothing. “You foolish woman. Should we accept only the good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” – Job 4:10

3. My women’s Bible Study has been reading Praying the Names of God for the last 6 months or so. Each chapter is a different name of God found in scripture (most of which I can’t pronounce, even with the pronunciation guide) and each day of that week is focused on verses and stories about that aspect of God’s character. I would definitely say that the chapters/names/aspect of God’s character that have resonated most are the ones that are related to the current life stage I am in, selfish as that is. This week’s chapter is on Elohim (e-lo-HEEM) or “God, Mighty Creator.”

I am loving all of these studies of scripture being focused on the beginning. Sometimes, I just want a do over to wipe away every out-of-context assumption I or others have made about God or who I am in Christ and start over. It’s so easy to be in denial and to think that we’ve got it all figured out and that we know God’s plans and purposes for ourselves (or that there is no God and we have no purpose), even after more than 15 years of calling Him my Lord & Savior; but clearly I don’t, we don’t, and we’re not supposed to. A verse that stayed with me at the end of last year and became my new anthem in RESTING in God is in Colossians:

“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7

Thankfulness has now become the yard stick by which my words and actions are measured. And going back to the beginning in 2013 has given me a refreshing sense of opportunity for gratitude to my Maker & Creator. Job praised God again and again, why can’t I?

One of the devotionals of the “God, Mighty Creator” chapter said to ask God “To renew your sense of wonder and gratitude for the things he has made.” What a powerful prayer to bring forth an outpouring of thankfulness! I mean, come on! He is the AUTHOR of creativity. He made something out of nothing!

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.” Genesis 1:1-2

Those 2 verses give me chills and that’s just the beginning of the story. What a Great and Mighty and All Powerful God we serve! He gave form to a formless world, and knit each of us in our mother’s womb (Psalm 135) and yet, today I find myself being gracious for grapefruit. It seems so silly and unimportant compared to the WORLD and the UNIVERSE, but what a gorgeous fruit He made for us to enjoy and take pleasure in!

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What are you thankful for and taking pleasure in today?

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Kindle Love…and Goals…

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Tea ~ Citrus Soother

This is all I’m going to say. I just got a Kindle and it cost $69+ tax and I am not a reader. Every year now I am setting goals before the new year for things I want to accomplish… Here is my 2013 Goals list..

  1. Pray with Pete and Elaine regularly not just at meals and at bedtime
  2. Participate in F2F (Women’s Bible study at our church)
  3. Live my life with the purpose that Jesus has asked me to, continue to define that
  4. Help out Financially with paying off our van
  5. Visit Franklin at least 2 times
  6. Pray for Baby A#2
  7. Buy a House
  8. Read 6 books
  9. Volunteer as a family 1 day a month
  10. Keep cooking new things
  11. Challenge others and myself in the way of the Lord

So, I got a Kindle hoping I would exceed my 6 book goal and also that it would encourage me to do something for myself.  Also, when making goals I try to make a list that is realistic for me.  For instance I thought 2 months for 1 book was an adequate amount of time to get one read. I encourage you to set goals for yourself and review them at least once a month. Consider it a to do list instead of a wish list. After all, they say people who set goals for themselves are more likely to achieve them. 😉

Cheddar Biscuits

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Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Ingredients:

Biscuits:
2 1/2 cups Bisquick
4 Tbsp cold butter
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
3/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Butter Glaze:
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp dried parsley flakes

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly grease or line one cookie sheet with parchment; set aside.

Combine Bisquick with cold butter in a medium bowl using a pastry cutter (I just used 2 forks). Don’t worry about mixing too thoroughly; there will be small chunks of butter in the mix about the size of peas. Add cheddar cheese, milk, and garlic powder. Mix by hand until combined, but don’t over mix.
Drop 1/4 cup portions of the dough onto the lightly greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes in preheated oven or until the tops of the biscuits begin to turn light brown.
While the biscuits are baking, melt butter is a small bowl in the microwave. Stir in garlic powder and dried parsley flakes. Use a brush to spread the garlic butter over the tops of all the biscuits. Sprinkle a little kosher salt on the freshly coated biscuits. Makes one dozen.
Need to use up some zucchini? Grate a small zucchini, about 3/4 cup. Strain the grated zucchini in a cheesecloth or some paper towels to get rid of the excess moisture. Add the grated zucchini to the biscuit batter when you add the cheese and milk.

Dutch Apple Baby Pancake

Tea ~ Caramel Apple

Have you ever used a Vita-Mix? It’s the most amazing blender/food processor ever! They use it to make blended drinks and smoothies at coffee shops and restaurants. It heats up pureed soups while it’s on, it turns wheat berries into flour, it grinds coffee, you can put all your ingredients into it to make guacamole…only halving a tomato, no need to chop it! I love it!

I tried making my own flour for the first time since getting one in April, and I didn’t realize how easy it would be! I may just do this regularly. All-purpose flour tends to bleach out important nutrients like zinc and magnesium, which I’m pretty sure I have been deficient in and has been causing some health issues for me the last few months/years. And even “whole wheat flour” could be caramel colored to make it look more healthy, the key word is “grain” if you are looking for a flour that has not lost much of it’s nutritional value, as in “whole grain wheat flour.”

Hubby & I got up a little early this morning before church to make this Dutch Apple Baby Pancake for breakfast together. See below for the recipe or skip below for my quick summary of it (based on the photo at the top of this post).

Dutch Apple Baby

Wheat berries turned into flour, sugar turned into to powdered sugar (I did not know that was how powdered sugar was made! Just stick it into the vita-mix!), sauteed apples in butter, cinnamon, sugar & nutmeg, blended pancake batter mixed in the vita-mix & poured over the top of the apples top and bake. Garnish with powdered sugar & cinnamon. DELISH!

This might be a new signature breakfast/dessert dish in the Amidon house. Taking it to our Bible Study/Gospel Community right now along with a big carafe of Caramel Apple Rooibos Tea. I’m sure it will be a hit!

Achievement is Fleeting too

Tea ~ Almond Joy

Last night before going to sleep, I told Greg that today was going to be my Sabbath. Because it certainly did not happen on Saturday, Sunday, Monday or Tuesday. Or today even. I intended to get up at 8:30 or 9 and go to a 10:30am yoga class. I woke up at 11:15! I couldn’t believe it. I guess I really needed the rest. At about noon-thirty, Greg came into the kitchen and hugged me and peeked over my shoulder as I was on my computer…working. He threatened to take away my computer and my phone today and supervise me in my observance of the Sabbath I had scheduled for myself. I laughed and avoided eye contact because that very well might need to happen one of these times. You would think that as someone who does not have to punch a time clock and is a volunteer Communications Director for an anti-human trafficking organization and a domestic goddess of our home that I would have more free time to do the things that I “wanted” to do like knitting, reading, watching tv, but this is not the case. At least not for me.

I am probably the most doing of doers of most people you know. In fact, I am such a doer that writing a new blog update has been on my to do list for the last 2 weeks and I am just now getting to it on my Sabbath. And believe me, I’ve been dying to because I really enjoy it! But sitting down and writing one of these probably takes me 2 hours. Almost everything I do is and has to be well thought out. That takes planning and scheduling.

But, you see, I have a disease. And that disease is sin. And that sin is making achievement and success an idol in my life. And there is a LOT that could be achieved in this life. Daily, hourly, every minute of every day. In fact, I once took a class over again in college that I received a B+ in so I could graduate with a 4.0. It is a temptation in every second and every breath God has given me. Achievement should not be confused with busyness, but achievement does create busyness and that is a brilliant way for Satan to distract me from knowing and resting in where my true worth and identity come from.

“The devil plays on what is already in you. He can’t make a person evil, he makes a flawed person worse. For every 1 look to your sin, you need to take 5 looks to your Savior.” – Timothy Keller

My very first post was Worth(less) and worth is something I have to humble myself in daily and root myself in God’s Word and Christ’s sacrifice to make me perfect and blameless or my life will go up in smoke. There will be meltdowns and feelings of inadequacy and guilt for not having done enough or guilt for enjoying things like reading and knitting and watching tv. It paralyzes me from being able to encourage others and being confident in the TRUTH. Which is that God loves me. And the things that I do cannot add to or subtract from that. That is unconditional love that I will probably never comprehend, but that I will spend the rest of my life trying to.

That doesn’t seem like such a big deal, right? But we love others in the way that we understand love. And if I understand love as a series of tasks that are either done or not done, how do you think that manifests itself in my relationships? I was reading through a list of questions to accompany studying Scripture in my quiet time about a month ago and they included things like, “When did you feel the most love today?” “When did you give the most love today?” “When did you feel the least loved today?” And it really hit me that every single one of those answers had to do with an action. Either I did or did not do something to show love, or my husband did something to show love or I felt unloved by something he did not do. That’s not really a good thing. When my day can be made or broken by what others do or don’t do for me.

We often joke about how different our love languages are. We don’t share a love language (there are 5 typical ones that include:  giving & receiving gifts, acts of service, words of affirmation, physical touch and quality time). Because we don’t share a love language, I have to attempt to love Greg in a way that he understands and receives it and the same for him with me. These are not only ways we feel love, but also temptations for an idol and something we find our worth and identity in. Greg’s are words of affirmation and physical touch. He loves kudos and people encouraging him verbally in what he is doing and he is so compassionate with others. He loves hugs and cuddles and is SO much fun to watch with our niece and friends’ kids. I adore these things in him. Mine are acts of service and quality time. It has been challenging to love my husband in the way he understands love in our 9 years together, 5.5 of them married. One hilarious scenario we often find ourselves in includes Greg reading or watching tv in the evening and me either making dinner or cleaning up afterwards (acts of service) and being almost finished when Greg looks up and says, “You’re doing a great job!” And my internal voice says, “Then get up and help me!” I typically do not understand words. They are nearly meaningless when an action could take place. As long as what I am doing is not completely unappreciated or disrespected, I will be your work horse. Unfortunately, that lends itself to being taken advantage of which then leads me to feel unappreciated and my confidence and worth plummets.

I had a few dozen of these dots describing what I love about Greg & put them on the bottom of hershey kisses, one for each day counting down to our wedding. When I found them again recently and showed him, he rubbed these 3 pages on his face basking in the encouragement.

I had a few dozen of these dots describing what I love about Greg & put them on the bottom of hershey kisses, one for each day counting down to our wedding. I found them again recently and showed him. He rubbed these 3 pages on his face basking in the encouragement.

Another spin on the same scenario is when Greg remembers to be action-oriented with me and says (when I’m nearly done with making dinner or cleaning up), “Can I help you?” And at that point, I’ve done 90% of the work and I think, “Oh no you don’t…you’re not going to swoop in at the 11th hour and do 30 seconds of work to get all the warm and fuzzy feelings of completing a project (something I thrive on).” We affectionately refer to that as “glory stealing.” Greg always has the best of intentions. But love requires action. Isn’t that what dating is all about? A series of dinners and coffee dates, movies and quality time together. I love quality time! I will put down all of the acts of service for quality time and do nothing and be ok with it.

What do you think were the love languages of Jesus? We use all of them, just in varying degrees. He came to serve and not be served, he performed the most selfless act of service on the cross once and for all. He gave the ultimate gift of forgiveness of sins past, present and future. He commands us to make disciples, molding them to be more like Him. He spent quality time with Mary while Martha missed out.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you carethat my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42

Are you a Mary or a Martha? Are any of your love languages something that is defining you, making or breaking your day, causing you to judge others or become bitter or angry for doing or not doing, verbally encouraging you or not, giving you gifts or not, spending quality time with you or not or showing physical affection or not? If any of these are you (and most likely one of them is or God has freed you from it and I praise Him for that!), then you are finding your worth in something other than Christ. You are putting that one thing on the throne only meant for Jesus and making it an idol in your life as I have done with success, achievement and acts of service. But I need to be a doer of the Word like in James 1:22 and stop deceiving myself. I can’t earn my salvation or favor from God.

“He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:5

And these love languages, while helpful, are fleeting too. They are an addiction with a very temporary fix, leaving you to look for the next hit to make you feel like you matter and have worth and a purpose. They are a shell that you are allowing to define you and contain you like a cocoon contains a butterfly and you are unable to experience the fullness and freedom that God has to offer.

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A Viceroy Butterfly mimics a Monarch Butterfly as a way to ward off predators. They look nearly identical. Fascinating creation by God. Click here to read more.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

The good news is, we can be free of this! God is making all things new. We can love others unconditionally and allow others to love us unconditionally and not just in the way that we comprehend love with our “languages” and on our own terms. We can open our hands and give them to the Lord and stop allowing Satan to use the things we are good at to also break us and make us feel worthless, distracting us from the true love and assurance that can only come from and in Christ.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

I gave up earning a paycheck in 2012 and making a career a focus in my life because it was an idol. I have torn down the foundation I was living on and this year will be a time to rebuild on a firm foundation. My challenge and theme in 2013 is to REST in God. I’ll be reading through the Bible for the 2nd time and this time, chronologically. I’ll be praying for and seeking peace and joy in my heart and an outpour of love and thankfulness for others. I hope you will join me. Let me know how I can be praying for you too!

Be encouraged!

Love the idea of texting God and keeping an open dialogue with Him during the day! Thanks Kristin!

there's always monday

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About a month ago, I was doing my normal job on a Thursday afternoon. I arrived at a school, sat in the back and was completely inspired. That happens from time to time- okay it happens just about every time. But this particular Thursday, a guest speaker came in to talk to the students. He spoke passionately and unashamedly about the ways he pursues God in this day and age with all the distraction and noise that surrounds us. He explained that while he walked the sidewalks of his Big Ten campus, he had his phone to his ear, talking the whole way to class, but this time, instead of using up minutes, he was having a full-blown conversation with the God of the universe.

I was impressed. But then he went on.

He beautifully combined the busyness of our world with the nearness of our God with this simple…

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